By Bob Baston
The need for encouragement is not foreign to anyone. Sometimes though, that encouragement comes in very different ways. Having available to me several tapes of congregational singing has been a blessing. They are not for entertainment, but for edification. Sitting and listening to the singing at the recent Florida College Lectures on tape brings back the good feeling I had as we joined in singing praises to God. Truly it was an edifying experience! The beauty and value of words used to praise our God (some taken from the text of God’s will), can serve as many purposes as mentioned in passages such as Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3.
The Christian who looks upon the singing of praises to God in the local church as a chore is missing the true value of these praises. I certainly recommend that he or she attend such a singing as previously mentioned (with the largest crowd exceeding 1,500) and partake in singing as I believe God intended it to be. Yet, I have personally felt the same edifying experience when meeting with but twenty of my brethren. If purpose, intent, and effort are right before God, numbers will matter very little.
Choose Your Songs Wisely
Careful consideration of the songs chosen and the words involved is a must for any son g leader as he prepares the group of songs to be used in any particular worship service. One of my most embarrassing moments came during a Sunday morning worship when I stood to lead the invitation song and realized my mistake as I approached the chorus of the song. The words “are you coming to Jesus tonight?” stuck out like a sore thumb. Some would think that this is a very minor infraction, after all we were trying to encourage the lost to heed the Gospel call. But even this seemingly innocuous mistake could have distracted someone from the purpose of the song.
Worship In Song
Songs such as “Our God, He Is Alive,” “Higher Ground,” and “When All of God’s Singers Get Home” suggest the praises of God to be sung forever in Heaven. How can one sing “What A Song of Delight” and either refuse to raise his voice in unison with other Christians or not enjoy singing? When we raise our voices in spiritual song with other brethren, regardless of lack of musical ability, God is pleased. Christ said that I must “worship God in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). This is the condition for all worship to be acceptable.
Praise, Teach and Admonish
Paul writes to the brethren at Colosse to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16). The unmistakeable riches of this truth are found in the closeness one has with God. Being a gospel preacher brings me into contact with the problems of my brethren which are brought about by sin. Without exception, the answer lies in the person forsaking the word of God. In considering my own problems in remaining faithful in the twenty (20) years since obeying the gospel, I know this is true. The need to know God’s word is still fundamental to the foundation of faithfulness (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 1: 3). Paul also tells me that not only do we praise God, we teach and admonish one another. Can we sing “You Never Mentioned Him To Me” without remorse in our hearts due to lost occasions to teach God’s word? “How Are You Using God’s Golden Moments”? Many of our brethren must shudder when the song leader calls out number 93, “A Soul Winner For Jesus.” We sing:
“A soul winner for Jesus, A soul winner for Jesus,
O let me be each day; A soul winner for Jesus,
A soul winner for Jesus, He’s done so much for me.”
Brethren, let us sing the praises to God out of conviction and love, and to the best of our abilities. But let us also purpose in our hearts to understand what we sing and live out these encouragements and admonitions.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 12, pp. 369-370
June 21, 1984